Last Modified: Thursday, June 14, 2012 7:19 PM
A national study has found that Louisiana is among the most heavily licensed states in the nation.
According to the Institute for Justice, Louisiana licenses more lower-income occupations — 71 — than any other state.
Though the fees, days of education and exams required to acquire an occupational license ranks Louisiana 43rd in the nation, its propensity for licensing traditional low-income occupations bumps the state’s overall ranking up to eighth nationally.
‘‘These licensing laws force people to spend a lot of time and effort earning a license instead of earning a living,’’ said Dr. Dick Carpenter, co-author of the study titled ‘‘License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing.’’
He contends that state licensing laws make it harder for people to find work and new businesses to create jobs.
Supporters of these laws say they protect consumers from shoddy work, public safety and individuals’ health.
But there are some oddities.
According to the report, barbers and cosmetologists in Louisiana are required to train 350 days before receiving a license, but emergency medical technicians must train for only one-eighth that time.
Louisiana is one of four states that require training for an interior designer to be licensed. Louisiana is only one of three states that requires a license for a home entertainment installer. Louisiana requires the applicant have two years of education and experience and pass two exams.
Our state is the only one that requires florists pass an exam to obtain a license.
Carpenter said that many licenses were designed by states to reduce competition rather than shelter consumers.
‘‘As millions of Americans struggle to find productive work, one of the quickest ways legislators can help is to simply get out of the way: Reduce or remove needless licensure burdens.’’
That may sound good in theory. The reality, though, is that most of these occupations have effective lobbying groups that have the ear of state lawmakers, and thus, makes it difficult, if not impossible, to either do away with or reduce license requirements.
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Dennis Spears, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.